‘Dancing With the Stars’ finals, plagued with injuries, turns into Meryl and Maks lovefest


Meryl Davis, Maksim Chmerkovskiy (Adam Taylor/ABC)

Wonder who’s going to win “Dancing With the Stars” on Tuesday night? If the judges could choose, it would be no contest. While the big stories on Monday’s performance night could have been about injuries plaguing various couples in the competition, the whole episode was overshadowed by the judges’ lovefest for Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis and her pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Sample judge comments after Meryl and Maks performed their freestyle dance:

What you two have created is as close as it gets to a flawless work of art.

There’s good; there’s great; and there’s Meryl.

You just got real. This is what true dance is about. Dance is about the soulful expression of your true self. It has honesty, it has integrity, it has substance. What you did there was the most stunning example of divinity in motion.

Guess we shouldn’t point out that maybe Meryl has an unfair advantage in the competition by being, um, a dancer? No? Okay, onward: Judges Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman and Carrie Ann Inaba weren’t the only ones taken by Maks and Meryl. Their smoldering chemistry on the dance floor had co-host Erin Andrews melting too, as she asked Maks to explain what it would feel like to win the Mirror Ball Trophy for the first time in his 14 seasons on the show.

Maks, usually so hot-tempered, might not have heard the question, as he gazed into Meryl’s eyes. “Ten weeks is a very long time,” he said sweetly. “I would do another 100 weeks with this one.”

“And we would all love to watch,” gushed Erin Andrews.

Naturally, they got a perfect 30 for that one. The judges were also big fans of athlete Amy Purdy and Derek Hough, and had nice things to say about actress Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas; they weren’t quite as dazzled by actor James Maslow and Peta Murgatroyd. And although Candace and Mark struggled this week, James and Peta were eliminated thanks to a combined score of judge and viewer votes. (Sorry, guys — that rumor that you’re secretly dating and a big kiss during your tango can’t save you this time.)

[Related: 'Dancing With the Stars' premiere: Ranking the contestants and Erin Andrews]

Why were Candace and Mark having a tough time? Well, Mark had a horrible shoulder injury at rehearsal over the weekend and their dances were definitely lacking some spark. But Mark refused to acknowledge it might have anything to do with his injured shoulder — he was medically cleared during a commercial break, shed his sling, and managed to get through two dances. He also seemed to be quite annoyed every time someone deigned to ask how he was feeling.

“How are you doing right now?” Erin asked after the freestyle performance.

“I’m doing okay, I don’t want to just talking about my injury,” Mark said, barely containing his patience. “This is about [Candace], this is her moment, not mine. … Don’t worry about me, I’m alright. Don’t worry about me.”

It was hard not to worry about him, especially after seeing the scary rehearsal footage where Mark collapsed on the ground in a tremendous amount of pain after attempting a complicated lift. But he’s the professional, and as he said, doctors “would have to take my arm completely off” before he let Candace down in the finale.

Meanwhile, Amy — the first paralympian to compete on the show — had bad back spasms, though also managed to pull through for two impressive performances. The judges love her, and you can’t help but be extremely moved by her emotional story. Though Meryl and Maks seem like a shoo-in for the Mirror Ball Trophy, the audience does get a vote, and Amy might prove hard to beat.

[Related: Amy Purdy's bionic grace on "Dancing With the Stars"]

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.
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Emily Yahr · May 19